MLA Colleague Connection: a transition to a virtual mentoring program

Nell Aronoff, Heather S. Healy, Emily J. Glenn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Since 2003, the MLA Membership Committee has facilitated an in-person mentoring program called Colleague Connection at the annual meeting. The program hinged on meeting attendance, so members who could not attend were excluded. The 2020 virtual meeting created an opportunity to rethink the Colleague Connection experience. Three members of the Membership Committee developed an expanded and virtual version of the mentoring program. Case Presentation: Colleague Connection was promoted via the MLA ’20 vConference Welcome Event, MLAConnect, and email lists. The 134 participants were matched based on same-chapter preference, library type, practice area interest, and years of experience. Mentees chose mentor-mentee or peer pairs, resulting in 4 peer matchings and 65 mentor-mentee matchings. Pairs were encouraged to meet monthly, and conversation prompts were provided. A Wrap-Up Event was held for participants to talk about their experiences and network. A survey evaluated the program and sought suggestions for improvement. Conclusion: The online format boosted participation, and the format change was well received. In the future, a formal orientation meeting and communication plan can ensure pairs make their initial connections and provide clarity about program details, expectations, timelines, and contact information. The type of pairings and size of the program are important considerations for the feasibility and sustainability of a virtual mentoring program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-519
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Medical Library Association
  • Mentors
  • medical librarians
  • mentoring
  • mentorship
  • professional organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'MLA Colleague Connection: a transition to a virtual mentoring program'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this